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Chef Aarón Sánchez shares his basic tips on how to make authentic tacos. Sánchez is one of the most famous Latino chefs in the United States who is passionate about Mexican food and tacos are among the most popular foods in Mexico and have also become famous among Americans.
Although in the United States there are taquerías where you can enjoy exquisite tacos, the way they are prepared in fast food chains is not how they are traditionally done in Mexican taquerías.
Sánchez, who in addition to being a Master Chef judge, was the host of Cooking Channel’s Emmy-nominated series Taco Trip, You don’t want you replicating those hard-shelled tacos, ground beef, lettuce, and yellow cheese on top.
1. Corn tortilla
Corn is the basis of Mexican gastronomy, tacos have existed since pre-Hispanic times, they were invented with corn tortillas and today, corn tortillas remain the favorites for tacos.
Sánchez advises using a smaller tortilla than typical tortillas, in Mexico they are known as tortillas taqueras. According to Food & Wine, chef opts for 4-inch corn tortillas, stacked twice to maintain the integrity of the taco, that is, with a double tortilla. “The 4-inch tortillas keep everything compact and are reduced to two bites.”
2. Soft omelette
The tortillas in popular Mexican tacos are soft corn tortillas. With some exceptions, such as when it comes to golden tacos. When the extended tortilla is fried and on top are placed beans, chicken or other meat, lettuce, cheese, cream, avocado and salsa, in that case they are not tacos, they are called tostadas.
To make sure the tortillas have the perfect consistency and temperature, Sánchez heats them on a griddle with a jet of water and oil in equal parts.
3. No ground beef
Ground beef is not allowed. “That’s not good,” says Sánchez in Food & Wine. The chef prefers slow-cooked beef, shoulder of lamb, or goat, simply marinated with ancho chili, garlic, and Mexican oregano.
Mexican tacos can be many fillings, red meat, fish, poultry, insects, or just vegetables. For the famous tacos al pastor, pork is used.
Other favorite tacos are: carnitas (pork) tacos; barbecue tacos (lamb or goat meat); tacos de canasta, the common fillings are chorizo, pork sausage or chicharrón, beef adobo, potato and beans; tacos de suadero (beef); birria tacos (goat, beef and lamb meat); and tacos de cabeza (beef).
4. Place the meat well
Do not exceed the amount of filling, Sánchez recommends that when placing the meat in the extended tortilla you leave free a quarter inch edge aroundThis prevents the content from spilling when you fold the tortilla and eat the taco.
5. Coriander with stems
Cilantro is a garnish that balances the taco with a fresh and spicy touch. For the tacos you can not only use the leaves, but also the stems. “When I see that people don’t use the stalks, that’s what I call a gringo movement,” says Sánchez.
6. Use white onion
“Spanish onions are too aggressive,” says Sánchez. Instead, the chopped white onions, which are much softer. Use chopped white onion for the salad of your meat tacos, like the steak or pastor tacos. The purple onion is ideal for tacos de pibil.
There are many other ingredients that can be added to a taco as a garnish, depending on the type of taco, they can be radishes, nopales, chives, pineapple (in tacos al pastor) and pickles. What is almost never lacking among the accompaniments is lemon and a good sauce.
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